Fertilizer is needed to provide the nutrients for the plants in your food plots. The plants also absorb some of these nutrients in the leafs and fruit and other parts of the plants. Therefore, they supply nutrients to the wildlife that eat them. More nutrients are available when the pH is between 6.0 and 7.0. It is not cost effective to use fertilizer when the pH is below 6.0 or above 7.3.
Fertilizer is commonly sold in bags to folks planting food plots. Even larger operators who buy in bulk normally receive the same fertilizer that is available in bags.
Any basic fertilizer has 3 numbers. These numbers can be zero. The first number is nitrogen. The second number is phosphate and the third number is potassium (Really potash).
However, there are 6 major nutrients and several minor nutrients needed by plants to grow to potential. There are few sources of these other nutrients available to food plot growers. Our carefully formulated Wildlife Food Plot Fertilizer provides a solution.
The use of the nutrients are needed by plants and deer. The uses of nutrients for deer is shown in the article about Minerals in another location of the Learning Center.
6 Major Nutrients Available in Lime or Fertilizer: (All 6 are available in Forage Tech Wildlife Food Plot Fertilizer)
1) Calcium – Needed to raise pH avialable in all forms of lime
2) Magnesium – Needed to raise pH available in agricultural ground limestone
3) Sulfur – Needed in small quantities – Large quantities will lower pH
4) Nitrogen – Unstable in soil. Promotes green leafy growth. Extra Nitrogen is needed by corn as a top dressing. Lack of nitrogen shows up as pale green or yellow plants. Nitrogen is made available in the soil by such plants as clover, alfalfa, soybeans, burgundy beans and peas. When planting these crops with other crops that don’t provide nitrogen some nitrogen should be supplied by fertilizer. This is why Forage Tech fertilizer has less nitrogen that phosphorous and potassium.
5) Phosphorous – Corn needs high amounts of phosphorous. Phosphorous promotes root growth. Even if present in the soil little phosphorous is available to plants when the pH is below 6.0 or above 7.3. A lack of phosphorous usually shows up as purple on the ends of leaves.
6) Potassium – Promotes photosynthesis. Also, is critical for fruit production.
Minor Nutrients found in Forage Tech Wildlife Food Plot Fertilizer
- Moly B – Important for soybeans
- Zinc – Needed by corn
- Boron – Needed by alfalfa
- Mangenese, copper and iron are also available in minor amounts
Nutrients taken up by plants and eaten by deer provide the deer with the nutrients needed for general good health.
Comparison of Cost of Forage Tech Wildlife Fertilizer to Standard Ferilizer
This is a comparison of Forage Tech fertilizer to a common food plot fertilizer sold at farm supply locations. Fertilizer price goes up and down since it is a commodity. The comparison will be done at prices that have been common for the 6-12-12 in the last couple of years as priced at farm supply outlets. We sell this fertilizer also.
Four bags of 6/12/12 supply the same amount of N-P-K as 3 bags of Forage Tech 8/16/16 exactly. We will assume that this the right amount of fertilizer needed for an acre food plot.
Common price of 6/12/12 is $12.50 per bag. This totals $50 for the fertilizer for one acre.
Our fertilizer is $23.50 per bag. Three bags equal $71.50 per acre. This $21.50 buys 3 more major elements and several important minor nutrients.
Let’s consider another example as we don’t always recommend using our fertilizer as the sole source of nutrients for a field. If extra Phosphorus is needed we reommend 0-46-0 and if additional potassium is needed we add 0-0-60.
Real Life Example of Fertilizer Cost Comparison:
Individual that has been a seed and fertilizer customer for years has the following soil test for a 1 acre field that he will plant this spring in an annual summer food plot. pH is 6.3 and P & K tests are both medium. Note: Testing is not done for nitrogen because it is too volatile (ever changing) in the soil.
Using Forage Tech Wildlife Food Plot Fertilizer and other fertilizer all supplied by Forage Tech:
- 2 bags of 8/16/16 at $23.50 = $47.00
- 1 bag 0-0-60 at $14.50 = $14.50
- Total – $61.50 total cost for fertilizer for 1 acre
Using only standard fertilizers supplied by Forage Tech:
- 2.67 bags of 6/12/12 at $11.50 = $30.71
- 1 bag of 0-0-60 at $14.50 = $14.50
- Total – $45.21 total cost for fertilizer for 1 acre
For a cost of $16.29 per acre the customer received 3 more major nutrients and several needed minor nutrients for the plants in his food plot as well as for the deer eating those plants. In the long term year in and year out costs for this premium fertilizer over standard fertilizers has been $10 to $20 per acre based on the current market of fertilizers and the base fertility of the fields. With all the costs of your hunting why skimp on fertilizer , minerals or seeds?
Picture on right is well fertilized Forage Tech Spring/Summer mix in mid to mid late summer. Browse was very heavy on the peas, lab lab and burgundy beans. Later the deer ate the tops out of the grain sorghum and sunflowers. This is an upland site in Middle Tennessee.